Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Final Image

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, 42.5″ in length x 13″ high

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree sums up this years Art style.  I did come up with a style change in the vertical staffs. In the past they have all been square.  For the staffs for this artwork I cut round dowels into half rounds.  Nothing special, just interesting to make those small changes that add up to bigger movements in this Art.   Those four words “small changes….add up” have always been what pushes this Art forward.

The photograph of this final image is not bad. It comes close to capturing the look of the aluminum frame and of the coarse Pearl paint I used on the two canvases.  To improve the accuracy of the image I did have to cut back on the contrast of the entire work.  This dimmed the whites especially noticeable in the backgrounds of the words.  I can still  perked up the whites in Photoshop, to improve the accuracy of the prints.  I do sell my Art as prints on Etsy and Amazon.  Although, I need not rush to do so,  for I have never sold a Christmas print.

Of interest I have entered this artwork, a first for a Christmas painting,  in The Center for the Visual Arts 2019 29th Annual Midwest Seasons Prospectus, on the very last day of eligibility. In the information brochure it states:

“Original works should draw inspiration from Midwest seasonal impressions and
activities: i.e., the excitement of summer sports,
the fresh scents of spring awakenings, the
warmth of a cup of hot soup in the bitter winter,
or the crisp air in the autumn colors.
Interpretations of the season may be broad and
entries are not limited to representational works”

I believe I meet this criteria for the Christmas season is a season in the Midwest, and my artwork comes from a popular Christmas song.  After 28 years of jurors I am pretty sure those who know this show probably have seen every take on what the look of our weather is in Wisconsin, accept, in truth, not the way I present it.  That than may be a problem: this Art is different and unknown.  My take than is that no matter who jurors the 29th show including any of the last 28 jurors, the 29 juror will also reject this art.  A generic rejection notice bothers me less than the lost of my entrance fee of 25 bucks, which bothers me a lot less than not trying.

I see this art as too different from what is popular at Art Fairs,  and not understood enough to be exhibited constantly in local area Art exhibitions. Over the last couple of years, against my own instincts, I have tried to market my art through Art Fairs.  I have had some success and a few sales.  Those buyers both connect to the music and find my pricing , under 300 dollars, in their range.  I have also gradually lowered my pricing and the size of my works to be more in tuned with these type of price conscience buyers.   Unfortunately,  the effect of these moves did not lead to more sales.  Instead, I feel Art Fairs have actually undercut the direction, the value, and stunted this Art’s growth.

My experiences with Art Fairs along with discussions with veteran vendors has lead me to believe that Art Fairs from year to year don’t really change, they only reset back to zero each year.   Art Fairs tend to have lots of potential  browsers, but I have had only a few buyers and they existed only in their moment in my tent.  Art Fairs therefore are like the movie Ground Hog day.  That is the reason I wish to abandon Art Fairs.  I do not feel Art Fairs and those buyers will ever connect me to the larger world of high Contemporary Art.   Ironically, Art Fairs that can do that are only the large Gallery supported Art Fairs.

Currently, I have no connections to any large Galleries so that leaves me with the option that started this blog post:  participating in Call-for-Artists exhibits.  These exhibits open the door to another group of supporters that don’t go to Art Fairs, and only occasionally go to Art exhibitions if they are a supporting member.  The difference between Art Fair browsers and  “Call to Artist” Art exhibition supporters is the level of interest in today’s Art.  Buyers interested in contemporary Art attend  Art exhibitions. Art Fair goers are browsers interested in craft works and a lot interested in connecting to an artwork.  Even if some Art exhibit attendees see only an investment,  there will always be a few others that buy Art because they believe.  Even though they are much fewer in numbers than Art Fair goers, and at times are difficult to deal with, they do, at less in spirit, support the Arts.  Maybe not with their money, (let’s be real here) but certainly with their words and their egos.  This than offers a small opening to greater opportunities as long as I can self-support this Art.  Since I can I can therefore play the juror game knowing that Art exhibitions, can offer doors that may open out to a wider audiences and bigger opportunities.  Unlike Art Fairs, there are no doors, only my tent opening, to a closet I never wanted to be in.

And, if I make the 29 Annual Midwest Seasons Prospectus  show, praise Jesus,  you never know what new opportunity may be ahead.  I need to stay focused, participate, and continue to make all those small changes. When everything is added up, I may be surprised by the doors I walked through, and the doors I open on my own.  It all starts with baby steps, baby.

Scott Von Holzen



Por Una Cabeza The Tango Final image

The Tango Por Una Cabeza, 83 inches in length by 17 inches in height.

The Tango

I wrote these comments for this video:
“This artwork is a portrait of the Tango from the movie Scent of a Woman. What makes this work different from the previous other large works of 2018, Like Vogue, and the Mozart Serenade, is that I broke the music a part based on the two rests from the music. What I am trying to do is to capture that same feeling that I get when I view an actual Van Gogh painting. Its is his colors that pulls me closer to Vincent, but it is the seeing of his brush strokes and the interaction they have on all those bright colors that creates the connection. Although I am trying to use bright colors differently from Vincent, I do want to pull the viewer closer. I hopefully do that with their interaction with the music. That is why breaking the music apart I think creates curiosity with the viewer. I talk of immersive qualities of this artwork in the video. That may be over confidence on me, but no matter, it is a start, for better to come.”

I do not need to say anymore about this artwork. After two months of living with it, I wish only to move on.  That is what has happened. I am now working on 2018’s Christmas painting.  An image of this artwork will be a part of the Christmas Cards that I will be sending out to those who have supported me this year and in the past. Never forget.  Thank You

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Beethoven’s 5th Final

Beethoven’s 5th first nine notes. 21 3/4 inches high by about 25 inches in length.

Beethoven’s 5th Symphony first nine notes is finished.  I created two versions of this artwork that I showed at the Lakeville Art show this last weekend.  Everyone enjoyed playing the music, with reactions of surprise and smiles all around.  In this image you can see them both on opposite sides of the entrance.

Here is a short video with the music:

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Rhapsody in Blue final image

Rhapsody in Blue 87 3/4″ in length by 21 1/2″ maximum height.

I built Rhapsody in Blue from the previous artworks, Vogue, and Ronda All Turk.  These three works are the major artworks for 2018, not only because of their size, but because they may have given me the opportunity to shake the artistic tree.  This final image of Rhapsody’s contributes to that shake up.

Rhapsody in Blues obviously quivers the tree visually, because of its unusual handling of the subject matter.  Portraits, and landscapes, and abstract paintings are all positioned  on their backgrounds. This is not true with Rhapsody where the subject matter is physically independent from the background.

What is that rustling of the leaves I am hearing?   Well that is Rhapsody presenting a  look that drops the stylistic use of the splish-splash use of color seen in much of today’s art.  Rhapsody also combines two different forms of abstraction seen in the expressionist coloring of the music  while the rest of the painting uses the solid colors of colored color field painting. The limbs and leaves of the artistic tree are now swaying about.

And finally, to shake the fruit from the tree,  I replaced much of the background with space and air leaving the stretched canvas, decorated in Art Deco, to symbolize a background that serves little purpose.

Each of these paintings could help to define music to the viewer as something that is not to be heard but felt.  If that is so than I am heading in the right direction. If the viewer see these three paintings as original fine art pieces than I am certainly staying this course.  And yet I am far from seeing any of that happening.  None of these artworks have sold,  or received any attention including appearing in public.  Until that day arrives I will keep doing what I have always done: move on to the next project, while keeping my focus on shaking that damn tree.  To step up the pace I might have to bring out the saw.

The Giving Tree, a favorite book of mine by Shel Silverstein


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Mozart Serenade No. 13 Final Image

Length 38 1/4 inches by 18 inches 3 inches depth

Summer can be busy and that may be the reason I forgot to post this final image of Mozart’s Serenade.  Besides not posting this image earlier I also forgot to create a video demonstrating the music that is part of this artwork.  That happened because I wanted to add this artwork to a show of my recent works at our local gallery, Artisan Forge.

This is the second of my works, Rondo Alla Turca was the first, to have the music built into the artwork. If you look at the lower left of the above final image there is a red button to play the music that represents this artwork. Top to bottom on this forward panel on display through this month of August, are the artworks, Runnin’ Down a Dream, The Mozart Serenade, In The Mood and my favorite polka, Polka, POLKA! artwork. In the back display, the long green and tan artwork on display for the first time, Mr Brightside, I painted in 2016.

I have mentioned that the use of a lot of solid bright colors on this work and the earlier Rondo Alla Turca are very similar.  I hope to change that trend starting with my current project Rhapsody in Blue.  I plan on pulling back on the miscellaneous, splish, splash, use of solid colors.  One  reason for making this change, is that too many solid colors placed randomly on an artwork, lessens the value, and impact, of the adjacent colors. I will explain my decision to change direction, and why so quickly,  in my next blog entry. For now,  if you wish to buy this amazing bright-colored Mozart artwork the price is a reasonable $800.00 at the local Artisan Forge gallery.

Scott Von Holzen



S_V_H Mozart Alla Turca (Turkish March) Final

L79″ x H22″ x D5″

This is a work-in-progress image that I sent along with pictures of Vogue and Like a Rock, for consideration, by the Pablo Inaugural Art Exhibition. Today is the deadline.  To finish this project I still need to add a Trill, and repaint, once again, a couple of the beams located along the bottom. After that there remains some touch up and cleaning to do. Finally, I will have to find a place for the signature.

Here is that short video that was part of the submission that features the round red push button used to play the music.

The video makes this artwork look smaller than its actual size which is almost seven feet in length, and requires two people to move it safely around.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H God Only Knows

God Only Knows, 29 3/4″ x 13 1/2″ Canvas, aluminum with wood features.

This little commission artwork is finished. It took a lot longer than I thought. The issue, and I already know this, is no matter the size of the artwork the prep, the decision-making and the problem solving ends up consuming the same amount of time no matter the size of the artwork.

I am not comfortable working with the color green. That really is silly for I have a great range and variety of greens in jars to work with, and for this music green had to dominate the look.
So it does, but don’t expect the next artwork to carry on this look.

The words you see in this work, “God knows you,” come from the music’s lyric, “God only knows what I’d be without you.” What you see in these two sentences, are some shared words with different meanings.  My need, for any words that I use, is that together they do not refer directly to the music.  I always Google down three pages to confirm that there is no connection.  I actually like working with the words in this way.  These artworks go beyond the music that they start with, in direction and meaning. They also have greater depth than any abstract image of the music. As mention in many blog entries before, these artworks are a portrait of an individual piece of music. They represent a musical piece uniqueness and character.

I have to comment on two aspects of this artwork.  The blue you see above the canvases represent the sky. The lighter blue rectangles represent clouds.  The brighter greens and browns you see below the canvasses represent different layers of the earth.

Finally, I do not think I have ever used the word “God,” in any of my artworks. For this music it made sense. My lovely wife, Barb, pointed out that the word ‘knows’ was harder to read than the other two words.  Like all my earlier artworks I have always used one color for all the lettering.  This became a contrast issue after coloring in of the word ‘God,’ on a darker blue-green background,  and then using the same light blue for the word ‘knows’ that is on a lighter green background.  But, when I than tried a darker color for the word ‘knows’,  that made that word too prominent for its use.   My solution was to use the same light blue for all the words. This than allowed the important words “God and You’ stand out while the lighter looking word ‘knows’ to still connect the phrase.   A result, in doing the words this way, is that people will first see the capitalized words ‘God’ and ‘You, and then be presented  with the choice to read, or not, the softer looking in between word ‘knows.’  All this adds complexity, and challenge for the viewer to define their own meaning of this artwork and the music it is portraying.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Liechtensteiner Polka Final Image

. . . . . .   ………   ………………….

This project titled, Liechtensteiner Polka, with the subtitle, Back-to-the-Future as a seven-year old living in a small town learning to play the accordion art project, is finished.

Below is a picture of my Father’s accordion, that I used for my later lessons.  I still have my little red accordion, but the bellows are bad. The bellows on this accordion are functional along with all the keys and the bass buttons.  Not bad for an accordion over 60 years old that never receive any special care.  To my disappointment it worth today what Dad paid for it originally.

I did have to adjust the straps, but still found myself struggling to put it on. The accordion is heavy.  After a little research on how to play and read the bass buttons, I eventually had the basics of the Liechtensteiner Polka, although not good enough to video the results. This art project is now over, and music from Mozart is up next.


To practice my instruments is a decision I have to make everyday in my Studio. I use my Studio time for creating and promoting this Art. Everything else that consumes Studio time than takes away from those goals.  The result is that although I would love to play the Liechtensteiner Polka on the accordion, I still cannot. I need more practice.  The accordion will stay in my studio to compete for Studio time along with my saxophone, violin, guitar, and my piano. Little do they know that I enjoy listening to great music more than actually practicing music.  Maybe this will change as this Art matures,  and I am looking for new directions in music.  Maybe, would it not be wonderful,  if someday I could actually play on any instrument, the Music I paint.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Vogue Final Image

Vogue, acrylic on three canvases, with aluminum and wood features, 64 1/4″ in length by 22 1/4 in height.

Vogue, what the Hell are we looking at here? For the first time viewers of this blog they probably see a mixed media abstraction, minus fabric and beads.* To returning quests  Vogue’s style (stripped of emotion) is that of a three dimensional representation of a flow of music that is the theme Vogue. Looking at Vogue I can see this artwork in either way. Together that means Vogue shifts from the main purpose of the background which is to physically support the music.  With Vogue this is a return to the blending of the music into the artwork as seen in these early examples.

Joy to the World – 2006

Mood Indigo – 2007

Aspects of how Vogue blends the music into the background can be seen in comparison with In The Mood, the current header image of this blog site.  The obvious difference with Vogue is the amount of decorative design, and the overall use of the same colors for the music and the background, not seen in In The Mood.

A notable physical change with Vogue is the spacing of the music which is purposely tight, to create more tension between pieces. In comparison the music from In The Mood spreads across the background as if to take up space, resembling sheet music. Another blending technique is in the stem design. The stems used for In The Mood are all standardized, similar to their appearance in sheet music. With Vogue the sheet music look is broken by the varying depth of the stems across the artwork.

I consider Vogue a major work because of its size, complexity, and the time required, over three weeks, to complete. Vogue is the third original artwork completed this year. That means a possible total of only twelve new original artworks for 2018. That is not much output, that became startlingly obvious when the local gallery took seven of my current artworks. This left the number of newest works for other venues, very thin. That is where the development of my mini-artworks, that average each a day or less to produce, will help the production numbers.


(This video like all my videos starts out great for the first few seconds, and then quickly deteriorates into a lot of mumbling and incomplete sentences.  What saves this video is the self deprecation of the lyrics discussion near the end.  It is a laugh.)

Scott Von Holzen

*reference to a local artist genre

S_V_H Time to say Goodbye Final image

Two Canvases with aluminum and wood features, 29 inches wide by 15 1/2 inches high.

Time to Say Goodbye is finished and looking at it I think this little painting is kinda adorable.  I see that in the first time stripping of the music and the overall use of black and white I saw in the videos.  To contrast colors I painted the canvases a light rose to represent Sarah Brightman’s and her performance.  I than connected the music with the canvas with the gold and bronze accents and the added vertical magenta stripping on the music.

I choose to paint music from my lifetime,  for different reasons. For example I like to paint music that I think is exceptional,  or that I grow up enjoying over the years. I also like to paint music knowing other artist have done cover versions. That tells me the music has wider appeal.  The first time I heard Time to say Goodbye, I thought it was beautifully sung in Italian, but it was the title sung in English that caught my interest.  A later surprise was to find out that Donna Summer , “The queen of disco,”  also covered the music as I Will Go With You, in 1999.  The Italian title of this music is actually Con Te Partirò. Those words, and the words I chose for the painting, te partirò con te, both translate to I’ll Leave with You.   

I am happy to be moving along to my next project.  I did not build a full aluminum frame around this artwork and that created a lot of extra work to properly support the music on both ends. I wanted to experiment, but actually wasted a lot of time for such a small work. I do like placing my words on pieces of wood for this allows me to place them wherever it works  visually with the artwork.  This artwork completes this word evolution that started in 2014, when I began to not break up my words into their syllables,  or at less stop using those silly little dash lines in between.  Good riddance, for I want this artistic style, that started out with the idea of painting sheet music to eventually reach a creative level that has nothing in common with sheet music.

I have no idea what project I will start next.  I know only that I plan on doing a larger work, probably not Classical in style.

Scott Von Holzen